Jareth the Goblin King
The antagonist of the film, and number one Fetish Fuel Station Attendant
of the 80s fantasy films. Jareth is the Goblin King, and is summoned accidentally by Sarah Williams to take away her annoying little brother Toby. Sarah changes her mind, so Jareth challenges her to find him in his labyrinth within thirteen hours or he turns into a goblin. He is often the source for Female Gaze
, which does help when he's waving glass balls around.
- '80s Hair: You think?
- Affably Evil: Arguably one of the standard examples of the trope.
- Agent Peacock
- All Take and No Give: In a twisted way, Jareth claims to be all give while Sarah's all take. It's not clear if he actually sees the situation this way or if he's just trying to mess with her head...
Sarah: Generous!? What have you done that's generous?
Jareth: Everything! Everything that you wanted I have done! You asked that the child be taken, I took him. You cowered before me, and I was frightening. I have reordered time, I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous?
- Anti-Villain: Mostly because he doesn't seem actively malicious, just kind of a dick who likes beating people who challenge him.
- Big Bad
- Bishie Sparkle
- Bishōnen: Officially becomes one in Return to Labyrinth.
- Blond Guys Are Evil
- Blue and Orange Morality
- Breakout Character
- Crystal Ball: Jareth carries these around with them, waving them about, and can be used for Sinister Surveillance and to throw Sarah into a realistic dream.
- David Bowie: Pretty much the reason why so many enjoy this film.
- Dream Ballet
- Even the Guys Want Him
- Everything's Better with Sparkles
- Evil Brit
- The Evil Prince: Or Goblin King in this case.
- The Fair Folk: This describes Jareth perfectly. Arrogance, rules lawyering, and being as unfair as possible while claiming he's being totally fair. Of course, when Sarah complains about things being unfair he wonders what Sarah's basis for comparison is.
- Female Gaze
- High Collar of Doom / Mystical High Collar
- Intangible Man: During "Within You", Jareth phases through Sarah.
- Large Ham
- Laugh with Me: Just before "Magic Dance" starts, he motions for his goblin minions to laugh with him.
- He does it again later. Funnily, both times this is preceded by him telling the goblins to be quiet after they start laughing.
- Living Labyrinth
- Man of Wealth and Taste: The character was explicitly designed to essentially be Satan as an irresistibly alluring rock star. Boy, did they ever nail that one.
- Manipulative Bastard: Return To Labyrinth, he has a goblin steal Toby's homework in order to lure him to the Labyrinth. The end result was an attempt to mark Toby as his heir.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Subverted. The most he does to Hoggle is threaten to banish him to the Bog of Eternal Stench if Sarah kissed him.
- Ominous Owl: Jareth can shapeshift into a barn owl.
- Our Goblins Are Different: In folklore, one of the main attributes of goblins is that they steal babies. Jareth looks mostly human (if he wasn't a stolen baby himself).
- Painted-On Pants
- Pet the Dog: Despite being an insufferable jerk, Jareth is nice to the children he kidnaps and seems to enjoy playing with them. When Toby starts crying, Jareth launches into a song to make him stop—and it works. Toby even keeps laughing after Jareth throws him several feet into the air and lets another goblin catch him.
- Reality Warper
- Slouch of Villainy: Jareth's preferred way of sitting on his throne.
- Staff of Authority
- Stalker with a Crush: Displayed more in the manga.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Maybe not unlimited, but he wears eight completely different costumes over the course of the film, often combining black boots, long, ragged cloaks, a black sparkly jacket, eye makeup, baggy shirts and contoured trousers in various ways. In most of his scenes, he wears a sickle-shaped pendant around his neck. He carries a riding crop in some scenes. (His hair style, however, remains consistent.) For the record, the film takes place in less than one night.
- Villainous Crush: The degree upon which he actually has a crush on Sarah isn't clear. On the one hand, he shows shades of jealousy, and the dream sequence has romantic overtones...but on the other, his motivation seems to be to trick Sarah into failing.
- Villain Song: Has several in the film, including "Magic Dance" and "Within You".
- Villain Love Song: "As the World Falls Down".
- Voluntary Shapeshifting
- Yandere: Jareth certainly has his moments...
The Kid Heroine
, Sarah does not wish to grow up and prefers a fantastical, theatrical life and does a lot of LARP
. She wishes her brother Toby to be taken away by the Goblin King and it actually happens. Sarah races off into Jareth's labyrinth to find her brother, using her wits and imagination to take on its various puzzles and oddball characters.
Sarah's baby half-brother who annoys her with his constant crying. She wishes for Jareth to take him away, and he does just that. Sarah then makes it her mission to save her brother before he is turned into a goblin. In Return to Labyrinth
, he is now 15 and is asked by Jareth to become his heir to the throne.
A grouchy dwarf who Sarah meets at the entrance of the labyrinth. She later steals his treasures and forces him to guide her on-and-off through the labyrinth. Being a self-aware Dirty Coward
, he fears Jareth's wrath and follows the king's instructions, giving Sarah a peach which sends her into a dream trap. He later comes to her aid in the Goblin City battle, and is forgiven by Sarah.
- Accidental Misnaming: A Running Gag where Sarah and Jareth repeatedly get Hoggle's name wrong, although Sarah gets it right eventually.
- Changed My Mind, Kid: The minute he realizes Jareth wants to hurt him for helping Sarah, he bails.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Jareth threatens to make Hoggle the King of the Bog of Eternal Stench should Sarah ever kiss him. She does.
- Return to Labyrinth shows Jareth kept his word and made Hoggle the bog's ruler.
- Dirty Coward: And he knows it.
- Heel-Face Turn
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Lovable Traitor
- My God, What Have I Done?: After giving Sarah the peach.
- The Rival: Although he doesn't display any romantic interest in Sarah, Jareth still sees him as a threat. He even threatened to banish Hoggle to the Bog of Eternal Stench if Sarah gave him so much as one kiss.
- Samus is a Girl: Hoggle was actually played by a woman physically, his voice done by Brian Henson off-screen.
- The Smart Guy
- The So-Called Coward
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He's fine with ditching Sarah at a moment's notice, but when Jareth gives him the peach to drug Sarah with, Hoggle immediately asks what it does, asserting, "I won't do nothing to harm her!"
A Gentle Giant
of a goblin, Ludo is saved by Sarah from some of Jareth's minions and he becomes her companion. He is smarter than he looks, and can summon living rocks by shouting loudly.
Sir Didymus and Ambrosius
Sir Didymus is a fox-ferret like goblin who guards a Troll Bridge
across the Bog of Eternal Stench. A chivralous and honourable creature, Sir Didymus loves battle and is the most courageous goblin in the labyrinth. His "horse" is actually a sheepdog named Ambrosius who does not share his master's bravery.
A cute tiny blue caterpillar who Sarah meets in the film. He invites her into his hole to meet his wife and have a cup of tea, but then directs her to a path through the labyrinth.
- Idiot Hero: He sends Sarah on her way into the labyrinth, but tells her not to go left but instead right, later saying to himself that she would've gone straight to the castle. (To be fair, Sarah never told him she wanted to go to the castle.)
- Spot of Tea
The Wise Man
An elderly goblin who is said to be the wisest person in the labyrinth. Unfortunately, it takes him a while to give his cryptic advice and it does not help with the Deadpan Snarker
bird hat he wears. He then expects some sort of donation afterwards.
The Four Guards
Two sets of identical twins who guard two doorways with large shields. They play a Knights and Knaves
game with Sarah to pass through one of the doors.
The Door Knockers
A pair of animated door knockers who offer Sarah and Ludo a door to go through. One of them is deaf due to his knocker ring being in his ears, and the other in unable to talk since his ring is in his mouth.
The Fireys (or Fire Gang)
A gang of strange fire-red monkey-like goblins who approach Sarah and break into a random musical number. They can use Abnormal Limb Rotation Range
and removes their body parts, even their heads, without dying. Things turn a bit wrong when they try to rip off Sarah's head.
The Junk Lady
A strange elderly woman who visits Sarah in a replica of her bedroom, carrying a mountain of junk on her back. She attempts to fool Sarah into giving up on rescuing Toby, and seems to attempt to turn her into another Junk Lady by piling her toys on her. But Sarah claims that It's All Junk
and escapes the illusion.
The Goblin Corps
Jareth's army of goblins. Needless to say they're not very competent, but are vast in numbers. One uses a Humongous Mecha
to guard the entrance to the Goblin City, ironcally named Humongous.
Return to Labyrinth
A mysterious girl, polite and passive, Moppet wears a mask
to disguise herself as a goblin. She becomes Toby's best friend and advisor during the story. She was a slave for the Junk Lady, but was hired by Mayor Spittledrum as his servant, but she slowly recalls her Dark and Troubled Past
Hana and Stank
Hana is a stroppy fairy whose wings have been plucked after stealing money from the Flegworts. She is promised by Toby that he will get her new wings. Hana is accompanied by Stank, a miniaturised Ludo who acts as her horse, but has a disgusting hygiene.
- Bittersweet Ending: For Hana when Toby is about to give her a present containing new wings, Stank eats it and sprouts wings. Hana just responds with a remark of "Close enough."
- Broken Bird: Subverted, she became even more grumpy than she was when she had wings.
- Meaningful Name: Hana is Japanese for "flower".
- Our Fairies Are Different: The fairies in the film were described as just being a little rude, Hana is in a whole different league.
- Team Pet: Stank.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Hana lives unknowingly in the Flegworts' clothes shop and helped fix their clothes (in a Shout-Out to the Elves and the Shoemaker). The Flegworts leave her some makeshift clothes as a thank you, but Hana is so angry at this that she steals their money and has her wings clipped.
A little goblin who steals Toby's homework, luring him into the labyrinth. By the powers of Deus ex Machina
, he becomes the official chef for King Toby.
- Deus ex Machina: Skittledrum addresses the goblins looking for new servant for Toby, Skub offers to be a cook. Skittledrum rejects him, only for a goblin to run up and say the royal cook exploded, and the remains of her apron's name have left "Skub" on them. Skub gets the job.
- Lethal Chef
- Tagalong Kid
The mayor of Goblin City, Pangan Spittledrum has Moppet as a servant having bought her from the Junk Lady. Whilst seemingly incompetent, he wants what is best for his fellow goblins. He is flabbergasted when Toby is announced as the next Goblin King, but agrees to work with him mainly due to Toby correctly naming him, which Jareth failed to do.
The Big Bad
of the manga, Mizumi is Queen of Cups and had a thing with Jareth years ago that left her as a Woman Scorned
. She wishes to conquer the labyrinth by manipulating Toby's actions. She has two daughters, Moulin and Drumlin, and has water-based powers
. Mizumi's most unique talent is creating Literal Split Personality
creatures called Ablations, made from aspects of a person.
One of Mizumi's daughters. Moulin is a gloomy Book Worm
who says little. She is accompanied by a Personal Raincloud
named Nimbus, which can manipulate water. When it is revealed that she is an ablation, representing Mizumi's regret
, Moulin turns against her mother to aid Moppet.
Mizumi's other daughter. Drumlin is a Fat Girl
with a more upbeat attitude than her gloomy sister Moulin. She can absorb the water her sister creates via Elemental Absorption
, but gets larger everytime she does so, making her Blessed with Suck
. She is really an ablation, symbolising Mizumi's joy. She is absorbed by her mother.